Australia is optimistic negotiations for a bilateral trade treaty with India will be concluded within the next few months despite going over a self imposed conclusion deadline.
Australia and India missed the January 2016 deadline set by the two nations leaders in 2014 as Australia looks to gain tariff reductions for agriculture and services exports, while India seeks better access for auto parts, textiles and fresh fruit.
Australian former trade minister, now Special Envoy for Trade, Andrew Robb, said on Friday that the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement could be concluded within two months following the Australian election on July 2
"It is very close, we have done most of the work," Robb told a conference marking the anniversary of the China-Australia FTA signing at the University of New South Wales.
Robb said the delay was from resourcing issues at "the right level" on India's side due to competing priorities as it undergoes enormous social and economic change.
"India is heading in the same direction as China, but 10 to 15 years behind," Robb said.
"If we could sit down with the list of 25 areas, which are generally political decisions ... we could clean (the FTA negotiations) up in two months," he added.
"After the (Australian) election, we'll have a discussion with the Indian government and put that proposition to them."
The ninth round of negotiations took place in New Delhi in mid-September last year, addressing key issues of market access for goods and services, technical barriers to trade, legal and institutional matters and dispute settlement.